Sandra, you are most welcome to our small, but growing community - thanks for joining.
It's true that Guanxi is the deadly weapon in the hands of the wise out here in Asia, but tell me - do you agree that the concept of Guanxi is widely misunderstood by many western business people? It seems to make sense more to Recruiters... but to non-talent-hunters, the whole concept seems to be shrouded in mystery?.... I'd love to know your opinion.
I agree with you on that point, most of Western business people misunderstand this Guanxi concept and they often liken this to corruption. Maybe Recruiters are more aware about the deep meaning of Guanxi because their work is focused on people and relationships with people but I think it's also a matter of how much you know about China and its culture. Actually, there are a lot of other notions that are important to understand this Guanxi, such as the face, the group, etc. Unfortunately, most of the businessmen in China don't really care about those cultural matters, though it's essential (from my point of view).
What do you think? How long have you been working in China?
Great points well made Sandra. I've been working on China related for 18months now, and I have several reasons for my depth of understanding.
1. Although British born, my wife is of Thai heritage so my inlaws are Asian. Thai people have similar perspectives on face/connections to Chinese, and this helps me, A LOT~!
2. I hired my China business partner Jessie Wang who is a Beijinger educated in the UK. Her perspectives have been worth more than a million MBA books about China.
3. I studied the history of China and my curiousity and questioning of the people here led me to valuable insights.
4. I did lots of travelling as a kid, which gave me a wider perspective on different people and cultures.
I think generally, the above gives me a head-start over most Wai Guo Ren.
As for Guanxi, yes, you are right that many Western businessmen just don't understand it, or are confused/afraid of it! I blame in part some of the many books written about China by westerners. I also feel that in general, MEN are not as able as WOMEN to understand this way of working and living - women are generally more sensitive and have better intuition.
I think of guanxi as being like a member of the golf club in the West. It is only a networking concept and, just as you can have good and bad business with other members of the golf club, or Rotary, or whatever, same applies to guanxi in China.
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